2 December 2019
Sophie Spark-James, who lives and trains in Perth, won the Junior Female Patterns event, defeating ten other competitors.
“I love going to competitions and the thrill of seeing different locations,” said Sophie, “I feel like a different person when I put on my dobok (taekwondo suit).”
Patterns are a series of attacking and defensive movements against an imaginary opponent/opponents, set to a fixed logical sequence and are a fundamental element of taekwondo. Patterns become increasingly difficult as you progress through gradings and are an essential part of achieving a higher rank. In competition, two competitors have to demonstrate these patterns against one another, with the winner progressing to the next round
Sophie has been competing for nearly four years and is already a veteran of the World Championships – held in Glasgow during November 2019 – when she competed in the Junior section, achieving a Gold and two Silvers, making her a World Champion in Patterns for her age group.
Preparing for these events takes a huge amount of preparation: “I train twice every week, in Perth, for two hours; once per month in Edinburgh, with Grand Master Harkess, and with the Scotland U18 Squad in Alloa. It’s a big commitment,” says Sophie.
This weekend (1 December) saw another clutch of medals for Sophie, who brought home a Gold for Patterns U17; Silver for Sparring U17 and Silver for special technique (Flying High Kick) U17 at the Festival of Taekwondo in Wishaw, central Scotland. Mum, Lauren, is understandably very proud of her daughter: “Her commitment and determination is amazing, she is very dedicated.”
The youngster’s interest in the sport started with her mum asking if she wanted to attend a local class in 2015. “Initially I said ‘no’, but after trying it, I found I really loved it,” said Sophie.
She sure does.